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'Solutions like this are going to save lives' | For the first time, Sacramento City Hall to house homeless during weekend storms

The Sacramento City Hall and the Hagginwood Community Center will operate as warming centers through Monday morning.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Update Sunday afternoon:

Janna Haynes, the Public Information Manager for Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance told ABC10 that people experiencing homelessness in the Sacramento area should try to find shelter by 2 p.m.

County Severe Weather Shelters:

  • 1725 28th St, Sacramento
  • 2450 Florin Road, Sacramento
  • Creekside Adult Center — 2641 Kent Drive, Sacramento
  •  Hagginwood Community Center — Storm Center at 3271 Marysville Blvd, Sacramento
  • City of Sacramento City Hall - Storm Center at 915 I St, Sacramento

Original story:

There are at least two places people in Sacramento can go to escape the brunt of this weekend's storm.

For the first time, Sacramento's City Hall will be used as a warming center throughout the weekend to give folks experiencing homelessness somewhere dry, safe and warm to stay through the upcoming storms.  

"If January taught us anything, solutions like this are going to save lives and they're going to reduce the amount of trauma that people are going to have to go through because being out in a storm like this is pretty scary," Joseph Smith, the Advocacy Director for Loaves and Fishes, said.

In January 2021, multiple members of Sacramento's unhoused community died during winter weather. 

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"I just got lucky today and somebody told me some information at the library that this was going to open, so I'm here," Mark Matthews, a man taking advantage of the warming center on Saturday night, said.

Matthews, 64, just spent 29 days in the hospital and up until yesterday, had no idea a storm was heading his way.  

"Just trying to find somewhere where I can heal you know and I'm grateful for the Mayor for what he's trying to do so far," Matthews said.

He'll be sleeping in the lobby of City Hall.

"This is the people's building, right? And it doesn't make sense that we'd have the doors to this locked when people are sleeping outside who are going to need refuge during the storm," Sacramento City Councilmember Katie Valenzuela said.

Valenzuela was at City Hall Saturday night to welcome folks heading inside for the night. She said this is being done to avoid additional tragedies.

"This is definitely us shifting, this is a shift in practice, both due to community outcry and due to what we saw last winter, and so the city's doing our best to program with the county and work with our city team to get these centers open as frequently as we can because we know this is necessary to keep people safe," Valenzuela said.

In addition to opening City Hall's doors to the unhoused community, another shelter will be made available at Hagginwood Community Center, 3271 Marysville Blvd. 

The Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance announced in a press release it will also open two lobbies as warming centers, beginning 8 a.m. Sunday. Those lobbies are both in Sacramento, located at 1725 28th St. and 2450 Florin Road.

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Smith stopped by City Hall on Saturday night to see the setup for himself.

"I think it's really important that we recognize that we're doing things we've never done things before because that's how solutions are born," Smith said. "We can't keep doing the same thing over and over again, this is something new, it's exciting and I hope it's a point we can grow from." 

RELATED: Northern California Storm: 5 maps to help you get by

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